Early Monday morning, Aug. 10, the Corvallis Police Department (CPD) responded to two calls initiated by George Spencer, who police said appeared to be under the influence of drugs.
Spencer reported that he was assaulted and robbed in a local hotel room. The hotel number he provided was fictitious, and Spencer’s only injury was as small scratch on his cheek, according to CPD.
When officers arrived, they found an unresponsive woman, who was identified as Gina Vargas, on the hotel room bed. Officers attempted to administer aid, but Vargas was already dead.
CPD detectives said an investigation led them to believe Spence had met Vargas the day before, that they allegedly had consumed methamphetamine together, and that Spencer became concerned over Vargas’ distant behavior.
A press release from CPD said Spencer “felt he was being set up,” and therefore attacked Vargas, choking her unconscious. Spencer then fled to the downtown restaurant, where he attempted to report he had been assaulted.
CPD said when Spencer returned to his room, he encountered Joseph Rufugio Gomez. Spencer believed some of his property was missing and called police again. Vargas was still unresponsive at that time, according to CPD. Gomez was found by CPD and released without criminal charges.
The cause of Vargas’ death is still under investigation, pending an autopsy and other forensic analysis.
Spencer was charged with second-degree assault for allegedly causing Vargas a serious physical injury by choking her to unconsciousness, fourth-degree assault and strangulation. The charges could change pending the outcome of the ongoing investigation.